Background A problem of child maltreatment is often underestimated during medical education. According to a survey performed in Poland in 2002 10% of parents used at least one act of violence against their child.
Aim The aim of the study was to learn the perception of a child maltreatment problem among medical students.
Materials and Methods A cross-sectional study was performed among students in their 4th year of medicine in the Medical University of Warsaw. The validated (kappa score 0.8) self-fulfilled survey was administered to 245 students. The response rate was 63%.
Results In the students’ opinion, medical professionals face the problem of domestic violence often (64% answered with this option (95% CI 60% to 68%)). Most of the students estimated their knowledge regarding the problem of domestic violence as not enough (55%) (95% CI 50% to 59%). The most known form of domestic violence was physical maltreatment of a child (82%) (95% CI 78.2% to 85.7%). 32% (95% CI 27% to 37%) of students believed they were able to recognize symptoms of child abuse. Most of them (83%, 95% CI 79% to 86%) were aware of the medical diagnosis of child maltreatment according to ICD10. A large group of medical students (89%, 95% CI 86% to 92%) declared difficulties in the interpretation of law rules regarding duties of medical staff in a case of diagnosis of child maltreatment.
Almost all students (98%, 95% CI 96.7% to 99.3%) found lectures and workshops dedicated to the problem of child maltreatment very useful and highly expected.
Conclusions Knowledge regarding child maltreatment among medical students was poor; more educational activities are expected in this field.